View Full Version : Why do US immigration officials come on board arriving ships-for nonUS citizens?

03-26-2006, 09:54 AM
We completed our Eastern Caribbean cruise yesterday, on board the Magic?

The ship arrived at Pt. Canaveral some time before 6 AM. All nonUS citizens were required to go to the Walt Disney Theatre, to be screened by the US customs and immigration officers - at 6 AM. This requirement was not necessary for US citizens.

Then all passengers, US and non US citizens, disembark. All passengers have to be screened by US customs and immigration officials, in the cruise terminal building.

The question I have is why the US customs and immigration officers come on board, for nonUS citizens, if these same people will have to be screened in the cruise terminal building, anyways.

It can be argued, that because of post 9/11 security concerns, the US officials are extra careful, and that is why the extra step for nonUS citizens.

I can counter-argue - 1) nonUS citizens must have legal documentation (to visit or live in the US), and therefore can not board the Disney Wonder or Magic, without such documentation, and 2)the US immigration and customs officers do not have access to their computers, when they come on board the Disney ship - so they can not do a detailed background computerized check on such passengers, thereby diminishing the value of such screening?

03-26-2006, 10:01 AM
They have been doing this for many years pre 9/11. I am from the UK our passports are taken from us into custody for the whole trip, even when you get off at any port they keep them.

On the last day we go at 6am to claim all the passports back, and they check our visa waiver, or visa to see if we are ok to go back into the USA.

The crew have ot do this as well, or server was leaving the cruise and was held up as he was from Austrailia, and we had a diffierent server for a while at breakfast.

They will not allow anyone off the ship until this process is complete.

I have been on other cruise lines and they have undertaken this after the last port of call in the evening not on early in the morning of departure.

Its a killer with young kids and a flight back,

Hopfully the Med will be different as with a European passport UK guests are free to travel anywhere IN Europe

03-26-2006, 12:44 PM
We were on the same cruise! Hope you had fun.
On board was just Immigration. What you do on shore is just the Customs part. Immigration is "are you allowed to be here"? Customs is "what are you bringing in or home"?

03-26-2006, 12:56 PM
We were on the same cruise! Hope you had fun.
On board was just Immigration. What you do on shore is just the Customs part. Immigration is "are you allowed to be here"? Customs is "what are you bringing in or home"?

You are right, in the sense that the officers in the Walt Disney Theatre were dealing with immigration only. However, if a passenger, US or nonUS citizen (usually a US citizen) happened to bring in, to USA, more than the duty-free limits, that passenger has to meet the US customs officials, in "Diversions".

Theoretically, a non-US citizen would have to go to both locations - the first location for immigration, and the second location, to pay the duty (beyond the duty-free limit). This would especially apply to non-US citizen, US residents (esp green card holders).

Lindy Loo
03-26-2006, 03:29 PM
Seema could you go back to bed after going to the theater at 6am ?

03-26-2006, 03:43 PM
Theoretically you could, but once you are up, what's the point? I could not get back to sleep again, but that's just me. If you have early breakfast seating, you'll need to get going to breakfast soon anyway. Late breakfast seating is at 8:00 am (you are early if you have early dinner and late if you have late dinner). By 8:45 they were announcing that everyone needed to be off the ship by 9:00 am. We were just finishing breakfast. Lots of people were still on the ship then. We just hung around in the room for a bit, but it was obviouse that the room stewards were eager for you to get going so they could get busy cleaning the rooms. They had trash bags lined up between every room and sticks to hold doors open. They were ready to roll. So we left the room around 7:15, went for a walk around the ship. I got some great photos of the pools on deck 9 (taken from deck 10) with no one in them. Then sat in the Promenade lounge waiting until breakfast. The atrium was PACKED with people waiting to get off the ship as soon as the doors opened.

03-26-2006, 04:01 PM
In our case, we went back to our cabin - about 6:20 AM. Our daughter (10 yrs old) went back to bed for 1 h 20 m; we remained awake.

Our breakfast seating was 8 AM; nobody urged us out of the room at 8 AM ( the deadline by the ship, for passengers to vacate the room) - but we were out by 8 AM. The stateroom hostess had many other rooms to clean up (starting after 7 AM); many of those rooms had been vacated.

PS-The early evening supper seating would get you the early morning breakfast seating (on the last day, and on the day of the character breakfast) - our evening seating was at 8:15 PM, our disembarkation day breakfast was at 8 AM.

Therefore, I still see no logical reason, why the US immigration officials had to come onboard.